Boris Johnson on brink of pretty big row as EU, US & Tories line up against Brexit Bill

Brexit Bill: Boris Johnson on brink of ‘pretty big row’ says expert

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Boris Johnson’s Government is expected to announce on Monday a new bill that could disapply some of the measures decided with the European Union in January 2020 as part of the Brexit deal’s Northern Ireland Protocol. And it will face stiff opposition, BBC News’ political correspondent Nick Eardley predicts. The EU’s Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic and the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have both warned against that unilateral push. Domestically, some Tory rebels could kill the attempt right from the get-go.

Speaking to BBC viewers, Mr Eardley warned: “It’s going to cause a big row with the EU, potentially a big row with the United States who’ve talked a lot about the importance of the protocol.

“It could cause some pretty significant splits in the Conservative Party as well, because there are Brexiteer Tories who think that the plan coming today is a really good one. 

“There are some in other parts of the Conservative Party who say: this goes against our values and it breaks international law, so we are not comfortable with it.

“So, it’ll be very interesting to see the specifics later. But I think we can be pretty sure there’s a big row coming on this as well.”

The US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned that a unilateral UK legislation violating the Northern Ireland Protocol could put a potential UK-US trade deal in jeopardy.

Ms Pelosi’s threat came a few days after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss confirmed the Government would press ahead with a bill to satisfy the DUP’s demand to scrap checks in the Irish Sea. 

Since Northern Ireland’s May elections, the DUP has blocked the formation of a power-sharing government over its opposition to the Protocol. Northern Ireland’s opposition parties accuse the Government of pandering to the DUP.

The EU’s Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic, for his part, threatened to retaliate with a trade war, saying the bloc will “need to respond with all the measures at its disposal” if the UK presses ahead with legislation.

Both the EU and the UK agreed that preventing a border between the two Irelands, which would flout the Good Friday Agreement, was their number one priority.

But the DUP’s demand to scrap the Irish Sea border – a measure agreed with the EU to protect the Single Market – has placed the Liz Truss’ back against the wall.

To address the issue, she came forward last month with a bill that could scrap checks with Northern Ireland and keep them with the EU.

The Foreign Secretary is also likely to face opposition from Tory rebels who believe the plan risks breaking international law despite Liz Truss’ assurances that it abides by it.

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On what is known about the new legislation so far, the BBC’s Eardley said: “It’s going to be very controversial because what it allows ministers in London to do is override quite significant parts of the Brexit deal to make it easier to send goods to Northern Ireland.

“It will get the British courts more of a say, European courts less influence over how the protocol is policed.

“This is going to be so controversial because a lot of people conclude that it breaks international law because the UK signed up to that Brexit treaty and now it’s saying, we’re now going to abide by all of it.

“The UK Government say that it isn’t the case. We’ll get more of their reasons for that legal opinion later on.”

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